With so many high-profile hacks this year, it's easy to want to throw up your hands and say, "Is there nothing that can be trusted?!" Interestingly, that lament is what is driving the latest approach to cybersecurity -- zero trust. Zero trust is what it sounds like, a security approach centered on the belief that organizations should not automatically trust anything accessing their systems either inside or outside their perimeters. Instead, all people and devices must be verified before access is granted. To the untrained eye, this seems untenable. How, in this day and age, when we depend on digital information and connection to do most anything, can we use a process where we have to constantly verify identity and access permissions? Luckily, the practice of zero trust is more sophisticated than its premise.
The pandemic has created a newfound societal appreciation for the small businesses of Main Street. This support of small businesses is exciting to see as is the innovation that businesses are employing to ensure customers and employees can safely support them. In government, this appreciation for small business is not something that started in 2020. It has been a focus since 1988 when Congress enacted the first procurement goal. Part of that focus was because government knew that innovation happens within these smaller, more nimble companies and they wanted to capitalize on the forward thinking.
Small business goals have increased year over year and government is doing their part to keep up. In fact, in 2019 government exceeded its overall small business contracting goals for the seventh consecutive year. Federal agencies awarded 26.5% of total prime contract dollars to small businesses (above the goal of 23%) which equates to nearly $133B.
Don't let the title mislead you, today we're not talking about acquiring Agile services (though, that plays a role) but rather about how government is making their procurement process more flexible and dynamic to meet the needs of federal teams and citizens alike. We've written here about the challenges in government acquisition--from the retiring workforce, to concerns of end-of-year spending, to incompatibility with modern technology. Given these challenges, we've seen a shift in recent years from the "that's the way it's always been" mentality to one of innovation.
There is some guidance on making changes to procurement including the introduction of Other Transaction Authority (OTA), a way to more quickly carry out certain prototype, research, and production projects. OTAs incorporate business practices that reflect commercial industry standards and best practices into its award instruments. But, what is having a greater effect is agencies taking risks and trying new procurement methods on a one-off basis to see what works.
Lesley Field, the deputy administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said in an interview, "I see a lot of appetite out there for taking risks, calculated risks and bringing our industry partners along." She went on to talk about how agencies should be willing to try new ways of acquiring goods and services and be willing to learn quickly from mistakes and change course. Also communicating those lessons learned across government is crucial to government-wide procurement reform. Continue reading →
Social media management platform, Hootsuite, recently released "The Social Government Benchmark Report 2018" that looked at how agencies are using and viewing social media use in connection with their mission. The report examined the value of social media for government organizations as well as explored best practices for enterprise-level social media management for government.
The survey of public sector employees found that about half of respondents rated their agency's use of social media as good or excellent. The top use cases for social media cited were:
Citizen engagement (77%) - social media allows for a better understanding of citizen needs and they've seen an increase in positive sentiment.
Customer care/service delivery (48%) - teams are able to have faster response times.
Critical response communications (47%) - agencies found that citizens are better informed about critical issues and rumors are quickly addressed via social channels.
Employer branding and recruitment (45%) - respondents say they are getting a higher volume of candidates as a result of social outreach.
Based on these successes, it's no surprise public servants want to do more with social. 87% of respondents said there is room for improvement. Luckily, there are several events in the coming months that can provide guidance on how public sector organizations can better use social media. Continue reading →
In an era of intense scrutiny on the way government works (or doesn't work), it is important to take a step back from the national headlines and rhetoric and realize that the vast majority of government functions are carried out by our neighbors and friends. Regular citizens that have chosen to work for city, state, and federal agencies are the key to making sure our streets are clean and safe, the elderly have programs that keep them active and engaged, our schools are meeting the unique needs of our community, and so much more.
With this in mind, the GovLoop NextGen Public Service Awards seemed more needed than ever before. This awards program is designed to give public servants the recognition they deserve. Nominations were open for individuals that demonstrate a commitment to improving government through their intelligence, exuberance, or dedication (and maybe all three). This summer, thirty finalists were announced in five categories. The finalists and category descriptions from GovLoop are included here (winner names are bolded):[Tweet "Congratulations to the @nextgengov Public Service Award Winners! #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading →